Dock of the Bay
Vol. 9, No. 42
October 18-24, 2001
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Photo by Jonathan Atkin © 2001
Pleasure Steamers Return to Chesapeake Bay

Near relatives of the grand steamboats of the 19th century return to Chesapeake Bay this month, offering the chance for Baysiders to view a piece of history cruising by in the 300-foot long form of the Cape May Light on her maiden voyage.

Those lucky enough to ply the Chesapeake waters as passengers aboard the Cape May Light will be making an historic voyage in more ways than one. They’ll share in the Americana of homegrown cuisine and entertainment as they explore history in such shore stops as Annapolis, Alexandria and Washington, Mt. Vernon, Jamestown and Williamsburg, Cambridge and St. Michaels, and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry.

Bay map courtesy of Coastal vessels’ Bay itinerary
“The passenger who is interested in cruising the Chesapeake Bay represents a different breed of cruise-line vacationer,” said Andrew Osborn of USA Hosts, which organizes shore tours for the Cape May Light. “These passengers are interested in American history and American places. They are curious to learn about what makes our country tick.”

Travellers from all over the U.S. will learn about the heritage of Chesapeake Country beginning this fall as the Cape May Light begins her inaugural-season series of seven- and 14-day-long cruises October 20 from Norfolk to Philadelphia along the Chesapeake and intercoastal waterways.
Inspired by the mid-19th century Fall River Line passenger-vessel fleet berthed on the Great Lakes, the Cape May Light and her sister ship, the Cape Cod Light, are American flagship boats carrying 224 passengers and 77 crew. Built at a cost of $40 million, each vessel is 300 feet long with a 50-foot beam, four passenger decks, a draft of 12.5 feet, a cruising speed of 13 knots and a height of 67.5 feet from waterline to the top of the pilothouse. The ships are operated by Delta Queen Coastal Voyages, which returned steam-boat style cruising to the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

These boats are as fancy as they are long. The Cape May Light is furnished in Federal décor. The 2,400 square-foot Rosecliff dining room sports a custom-made chandelier from Tiffany Stained Glass of Chicago. Large picture windows bring the beauty of the water, sky and Bay coastline into the dining room. In built-in bookcases, Fogcutters Pub shows off volumes about Chesapeake Bay ports-of-call. Suites and all-outside staterooms offer their own expansive views.

As the Cape May Light sails past such Chesapeake Bay landmarks as the mouth of the Patuxent River, Cove Point Lighthouse, Calvert Cliffs State Park, Plum Point, James Island, Tilghman Island, Chesapeake Beach, Poplar Island, Fairhaven and Thomas Point on the way to make port in Annapolis or St. Michaels, passengers eat in style. The meals on board — served at tables set with ecru damask linens — gilds the lily of local cuisine. Paul Wayland-Smith, director of food operations, says that onboard chefs go ashore to purchase fresh local produce and seafood at every port.

As you’d expect, fares aren’t cheap: The seven-night Chesapeake Bay vacations start at $2,585 per person, double occupancy. Still, you might never get another chance to cruise the Bay in such style. The seven-night Charms of the Chesapeake Bay voyages depart from Philadelphia to Norfolk Oct. 20, returning from Norfolk Oct. 27.

— Russ Barnes

Each year local clergy bless the dogs, cats, lizards and any other animals at Calvert County’s Walk for Pets.
photo courtesy of Calvert Animal Welfare League
Gather Pledges Now for Calvert’s Peaceable Kingdom

In times like these, nothing comforts like the familiar embrace of community. At the Calvert Animal Welfare League’s second annual Calvert County Pet Walk 2001, you’ll wrap yourself in the warmth of your Chesapeake Country neighbors, improve your community in a tangible way and have a doggone good time doing it.

“Pet Walk 2001 is a great way to get out and spend time with your pets and your neighbors and to get to know the people who are involved in animal rescue in your community,” says Colleen Sabo, chair of the Pet Walk 2001 committee.

Art and nature add to the pleasure, for the 30 acres of Annmarie Garden loops through not only woodland trails but into outdoor ‘rooms,’ some furnished with curious, bright statues, others transformed into sacred and celestial spaces.

Along the way, “Ask the Vet” and “Ask the Trainer” tables offer advice about pet care. Pet owners can watch and learn about pet massage, or, for a discounted fee of $25, have their pet inserted with a micro-chip, a new technology to help identify lost pets. If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, area humane groups will showcase animals in need of homes.

Animals will be blessed at 1pm.

Calvert Animal Welfare League asks walkers to solicit pledges before the event, then turn in donations and pledge sheets on the morning of the walk. A wide variety of prizes awaits the top fundraisers, thanks to the generosity of mostly local businesses.

“The first five people to bring pledges and checks worth $1,000 or more will win an invisible fence from Invisible Fencing of the Bay Area,” says Sabo. “And the person who brings in the most money between $500 and $999 wins two open round-trip tickets from Southwest Airlines.”

Other walkers win gift certificates for meals at local restaurants, massage, oil change, pet grooming and much more. Every walker who collects at least $20 will receive a leash, and every walker who raises at least $40 will also receive a T-shirt.

Those who sponsor walkers can be confident that the money they donate will directly benefit homeless cats, dogs and small exotic pets in Calvert and southern Anne Arundel counties.

“Every dollar donated will help build our adoption and education center,” says Calvert Animal Welfare League president Jo Moorer, a retired veterinarian.

Calvert Animal Welfare League, an all-volunteer organization, has been working for eight years to build an animal shelter in Calvert County. Calvert, along with Charles and St. Mary’s counties, is currently served by the Tri-County Shelter, on Route 231 between Benedict and Hughesville. This facility, however, is overburdened with homeless pets, and its inconvenient location contributes to a very low adoption rate.

Calvert Animal Welfare League volunteers initially imagined a conveniently located shelter that would be run by “a blend of county animal control and our humane organization,” says Moorer. But the group could not persuade a majority of county commissioners to fund the project. They pushed ahead on their own and in 1995 purchased land in Prince Frederick across from the Vehicle Emissions Testing Center.

When Moorer became president of Calvert Animal Welfare League in June 2000, her experience as a veterinarian — who ran Chesapeake Animal Clinic in Owings for 17 years — finally helped to win state and county funding to build a privately run adoption and education center.

“Right now, we need to pay off the land,” says Moorer. “That’s my goal, because then we can use the land as a match for the $75,000 we got from the state last spring. Once I have that matched and in hand, the county will release $42,000 that they agreed to give us.”

This new shelter plans a holistic, long-term approach to the problem of unwanted animals in Calvert and southern Anne Arundel counties. It will give unwanted and stray animals a second chance through socialization, training and a strong adoption program; it will help reduce the unwanted animal population by spaying and neutering all the animals placed in adoptive homes and by providing financial assistance for spay/neuter to qualified families; and it will help reduce the number of animals given up by owners by educating the community about humane, responsible pet care.

All this costs money, though, and Pet Walk 2001 will be a major source of funds (along with a recent $10,000 anonymous gift) to keep this project on schedule for a spring 2002 groundbreaking.

“Calvert County has one of fastest growing populations in Maryland, and the unwanted pet population grows right along with it. Pet Walk 2001 gives our community a chance to improve the unwanted pet situation by raising funds for an animal adoption and education center,” says Sabo. “We have the opportunity to make this so great.”

Walk between10am-2pm Sunday, October 28 at Annmarie Garden: 410/535-9300.

— Kim Cammarata

More than 300 neighbors attended a meeting for a proposed Giant supermarket development in Northern Calvert County.
photo by Sandra Martin
Now Playing in Calvert: Store Wars II

“We can build a strip center that could go vacant and sit there,” said the man in the suit to the audience he’d turned to address. Instead, he said, “We’ve tried to give you something for you.” Either way, this was his bottom line: “The property is zoned [for development] and it will be developed.”

The alternative John Scott offered his northern Calvert County neighbors falls in the category of the 7:30pm question weary parents pose over dusty youngsters: Straight to bed or bathe first?

Boos rippled through the 300 Calvert Countains sitting on the edges of their metal folding chairs in Windy Hill Elementary School’s auditorium.

People had come this dark and stormy October night, to address and influence their county commissioners. They gathered in the near neighborhood of the property in question. The Windy Hill elementary and middle schools stand on the Calvert-Anne Arundel County border between Chesapeake Beach and North Beach and Owings. The schools rose in the 1990s as testimony to growth, which is the force now driving the full-scale development of property that’s been mildly commercial for decades.

It’s four corners nicely situated at the intersection of Boyds Turn Road and Route 260, the main and ceremoniously landscaped route to the Twin Beaches. Scott is majority owner of much of the northwest corner, where the old Harrisons Lumberyard used to stand. Just north of it flourishes Sneade’s Ace Hardware. Kitty-corner across Route 260 is the derelict Parris Oaks Shopping Center that lends edge to Scott’s alternative.

What Scott wants to build there — the “something for you” — is a Giant supermarket. Proposed at 50,000 square feet, it’s small as Giants go. Sneade’s would move across Boyds Turn Road to a still-woodsy corner under different ownership where development has, so far, failed.

Eventually, the Parris Oaks strip will likely redevelop to satisfy the demands of the folks moving into hundreds of townhomes that might go up around a new Sneade’s. Only one of the four corners, the southeast, so far has nothing planned.

The domino theory was much mentioned among the 47 Calvert Countians and one Anne Arundel Countian who spoke against the development. The five reasons the “100 people” Chesapeake Beach Councilman Pat Mahoney had spoken to were opposed, he said, were “smart growth, our businesses and traffic, traffic, traffic.”

About 55 citizens spoke as individuals or for groups. Seven, including people from the Owings Area Community Association, spoke more or less in favor of the plan.

“We would absolutely prefer that the properties all be down-zoned,” the association wrote in its October 1 position paper. “However, if the commercial and industrial development is to proceed, we would prefer that it do so on sewer and water” with a traffic light.

Giant or strip mall, development of the corners is still down the road. October 16th’s hearing prepared the way for the Calvert County Commissioners to consider the preliminary question of inclusion of the properties in the Windy Hill Sanitary District. Innumerable such preliminary questions — addressed to county, state and federal regulators — pave the way to any development.

As the agitated crowd in Windy Hill school showed, citizens are familiar nowadays with that long and winding road. They’ve walked or read about it before, notably in Giant’s competitor Safeway’s campaign to build its own supermarket in Deale, a dozen miles to the north in Anne Arundel County.


Dale Watkinson, Jim Horstkamp and Joe Kearney sort through $388 donated in change.
photo by Mark Burns
Update: 911 Relief Yard Sale Nets $2,500

“Let’s aim for $1,500.” That was the hope of the planners of the 911 relief yard sale assembled at Breezy Point the past three weeks. That hope was much too modest. As the sale closed last Sunday, they were stunned to see that they’d taken in $2,427 in sales — plus $388 in coins tossed by well-wishers into a rusty wheelbarrow.

It’s probably just as well that the wheelbarrow wasn’t filled to capacity. Christine Kearney reports that husband Joe “almost had a hernia” trying to pull it to take the coins to a nearby Safeway with a counting machine.

Christine and Joe Kearney and neighbor Dottie May often wondered whether inclement weather might dampen their efforts, as Breezy Point lived up to its name at several points. But with the improvised protective cover for all the furniture and clothing, fresh-baked goods and raffle, the sales — and the hot dog machine and coffeemaker — ground on each weekend.

Work hasn’t stopped on Meadow Lane, even though the yard sale signs are now down. The items that didn’t sell must be bagged. Charities must be coaxed to pick up what they can use.

The little yard sale that could has inspired others. “I was talking to a woman in Anne Arundel County who was thinking about starting a crafts and antique show with proceeds to go to the firemen’s fund,” Dottie May reminisced the day after the yard sales ended. “It’s amazing how, when you tell one person, the idea spreads.”

— Patricia Kirby

Way Downstream …

In Virginia, Floridian Jim Anderson is planting submereged aquatic grasses in the Bay — and staying dry while doing so. That’s because he’s the inventor of a revolutionary grass-planting pontoon boat that sowed about an acre last week in the James River in a pilot project sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

In Crisfield, an alliance of crabbers has dropped its lawsuit aimed at overturning Maryland’s new crab restrictions, which include closing the season Oct. 31. The group says they’ll spend their money instead on a public relations campaign to persuade people there are plenty of crabs and therefore no need for further curbs …

Our Creature Feature comes from Britain, where Ken Edwards must be trying to erase the memory of Deale’s Muscrat Greene, who slurped his way into the Guinness Book of World Records eating oysters.

Edwards, an “entertainer,” made the Guinness Book by downing 36 cockroaches in one minute. But we don’t consider that as strange as another of Edwards’ feats: He stuffed 47 live rats into a pair of pantyhose — that he was wearing.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly